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News & Notes: Skins get three extra picks

News & Notes: Skins get three extra picks

Some smaller items have filled up the inbox and it's time to empty it out with this version of News & Notes.

News:
The Redskins were awarded three compensatory picks in this month's draft; a third round selection and two seventh-rounders.

Notes: This is not news here. Our source Adam had this one pegged as was reported here one month ago today. The third is really a fourth since it comes after the end of the third round, but it's the 96th overall pick and they should be able to score a pretty good player with it. The Skins now have four of the top 100 selections (21, 51, 84, and 96) plus five more (154, 186, 228, 242, 249) later during the selection meeting.

News: Quarterback Chad Henne of Michigan came in for a pre-draft visit.

Notes: It's hard to read why teams bring in particular players for these visits. You have a limited number of them—32—and you don't want to waste them. Henne is pegged as about a third-round selection and that seems kind of high to take a project quarterback and make him your third-string guy. But maybe the Skins don't want to wait until the sixth or seventh round to take a QB. Whoever it is will have to be ready for the possibility of having to play on any given (disastrous) Sunday and, in any case, will have to be ready to be the backup in a year or two as Todd Collins isn't going to spend much longer than that as a backup. Maybe they're thinking of using that comp third on their backup quarterback of the future.

News: Vinny Cerrato wants to trade down from the 21st overall pick.

Notes: I just found out that he said this on Riggins' show this afternoon. I don't quite see how it benefits the Redskins for him to announce this to the world, but it's not a big deal either. If he starts working the phones trying to set up possible on-the-clock deals, the whole world will know soon enough anyway. As most of you know, I'm not a draftnick by any stretch of the imagination, but from what I've read it looks like there will be a lot of good, roughly equal players available in the second and third rounds. According to the draft value chart, the #21 overall is worth early selections in the second and third. (I'll try to get the audio link for Cerrato's visit with Riggo and company and post it later).

News: The Redskins re-sign fullback Nehemiah Broughton.

Notes: This move is peculiar only in that the team had exclusive rights to him in February and chose to cut him loose. "Nemo" was selected by the Redskins in the seventh round of the 2005 draft. He bounced on and off the practice squad and the roster for the next two years and landed on IR last year after a preseason knee injury. He and incumbent starter Mike Sellers are the only two fullbacks on the roster, so there would appear to be some opportunity for Broughton to land a spot.

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No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

No tension between Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins, but the coach wants improvement 

MOBILE -- Jay Gruden is making jokes about Kirk Cousins again, and that's good news for Redskins fans that worried about a fracture between coach and quarterback. 

It all started in the weeks following the Redskins dreadful Week 17 loss to the Giants as Gruden and Cousins seemed to be throwing slight jabs at one another.

Gruden, in his end of year press conference, explained that while Cousins "showed flashes" in 2017, when the team goes 7-9, the coach can't say any player was outstanding: 

You know when you’re 7-9, you know it’s hard to say, ‘Wow, this guy really was outstanding.’ You know there’s a few guys obviously that jump out, Pro Bowlers like Ryan Kerrigan had a solid year. Obviously Trent when he played was Pro Bowl type, Brandon when he was healthy was Pro Bowl type guy. Kirk had his flashes where he was really good. From a consistent standpoint, over the course of 16 games, you know we’re 7-9. He did some great things, threw for over 4,000 yards and 29 touchdowns I believe. So, I think he’s a very, very good quarterback without a doubt, but as far as getting us over the hump from 7-9 to winning a division with all the injuries that we had, I think he competed and did some good things.

Cousins, in his year-end radio appearance with 106.7 the Fan, explained that he wants the team to do better but doesn't think the 7-9 record should fall on his shoulders alone. (Quote via Washington Post)

What I gathered from the comment was 7-9 and the quarterback play are causally related and that quarterback play is 7-9, 7-9 is the quarterback play. I saw that and I thought, ‘I think it’s slightly more complicated than that.’ I think there’s a few more dynamics in play as to what your final record is. … At the same time, his job is to evaluate. That’s a big part of his role and his position. In that comment, he’s just doing his job, he’s evaluating the position and he has the right to say what he wants to say.

Both comments were fairly innocuous, but also clearly at odds. Combine that dialogue with the undercurrent of another offseason contract negotiation, and it seemed things between coach and quarterback weren't quite right. 

On Tuesday, speaking at the Senior Bowl, Gruden cleared the air. Asked directly about tension between he and Cousins, the coach was blunt. 

"No." 

Gruden went on to explain his answer about Cousins 2017 play, the now infamous 7-9 line.

"When I say 7-9, if I say one player played great that means I'm saying everybody else was not very good," the coach explained (full video above). "I think we all have to stick together, we all have to improve from a 7-9 season, coaches, players, everybody."

Cousins was good in 2017, throwing for more than 4,000 passing yards for the third straight season. He also showed that he can produce offensively without a great supporting cast, as injuries robbed the Redskins of many of their best passing game threats and seriously damaged the offensive line. 

The quarterback did play two terrible games in the last month of the season, however, including a three interception stinker in the Week 17 finale.

It's possible that Gruden had that fresh in his mind when he spoke in early January, and with the benefit of a little time, his assessment mellowed by late January. 

Either way, Gruden joked about Cousins deserving a vacation, and even said the QB needs a tan. Gruden often uses humor to defuse touchy situations with Redskins players, and maybe he just did it again. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins have begun contract talks with Zach Brown, but free agency looms

Redskins fans want Zach Brown back. Bad. And for weeks there had been no news about contract talks between Washington and Brown. 

Now that's changed.

"We've been talking to his agent," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Tuesday. 

Gruden, speaking from the Senior Bowl, explained that the team would like Brown back in 2018 but Washington also understands that the linebacker might want to explore the free agent market. 

"It’s a process," Gruden said (full video above). "These guys have a chance to be a free agent, they had a good year and they want to check what the market is sometimes. If we can get them before they get to free agency, great, but if not, the bidding wars will begin."

For Brown, free agency will look different in 2018 than it did last season when he signed a one-year. bargain deal with the Redskins. 

Prior to injuries forcing him to miss the final three games of the season, Brown led the NFL in tackles. For two straight years, 2016 in Buffalo and 2017 in Washington, Brown has proved to be a tackling machine and arguably the fastest linebacker in the NFL. Brown also signed new representation last offseason, Jason and Michael Katz of CSE Football, and should Brown hit the free agent market the Katz brothers will aggresively market their client. 

Washington Senior Vice President of Football Operations Eric Schaeffer will handle the contract discussions for Washington, and is known as a shrewd negotiator. 

Like many business deals, this will come down to money. Brown established himself as a fit in Washington, both on the field and in the locker room. Interior linebackers do not command top dollar like pass rushers do, but Brown will still expect to be compensated appropriately. 

Further complicating matters for Washington, the Redskins only have Josh Harvery-Clemmons, Zach Vigil and Martrell Speight under contract for 2018. 

It's too early to predict what "it's a process" means from Jay Gruden, but Redskins fans should draw some encouragement that talks have begun with Brown. 

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayNBCS for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcastshere for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!